[svlug] Officers

Paul Reiber reiber at gmail.com
Fri Jan 25 10:47:21 PST 2008

Gang... if you're not into the politics of this group, and that subject is of no
interest to you, read no further.

If you care at all about SVLUG, though, I highly recommend you read on;
while I've done little to ensure this message is entertaining, I've done a lot
to ensure it packs a wallop or two.

On Jan 25, 2008 5:33 AM, Edward Cherlin <echerlin at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Jan 25, 2008 1:59 AM, Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> wrote:
> > Edward Cherlin wrote:
> >
> > > Let's get this aired out.
> >
> > If you say so.  However, since you're making claims about me in public,
> > I do request accuracy.
> I thought that I was making a simple statement of fact, one which you
> confirmed to me over the phone later on. You don't regard me as
> interim president. End of story.
> > (I know you've more recently retroactively attempted to un-say what you
> > posted earlier today, but that unfortunately has left some inaccurate
> > impressions on the membership, which you seem to want me to ignore, even
> > though they were at my personal expense.  In a word:  No.)
> I have no idea which statements you're talking about, but I deny the
> imputation of bad faith. I did not unsay anything. I have not asked
> you to ignore anything, nor did I wish you to ignore anything.
> > > Rick has made it fairly clear that he does not regard me and Lisa as
> > > officers by Paul's appointment.

Ed, Rick's famous for stuff like that - he didn't even regard my
dismissing him from service as a volunteer within SVLUG to be binding;
he remained at his "post", remained active and believing he should and
would have his say and his way... even publicly stating he'd simply
wait things out until he could return SVLUG to doing things the way he
thought was best, undoing the "damage" I'd done after my departure.
(not trying to put words in your mouth, Mr. Moen; simply recapping as
concisely as possible, at the risk of oversimplifying, sure)

So, that's not really a surprise to me.  NONE of this debacle is a
surprise, really!

> When it became clear that my assumption about being interim president
> was incorrect, I renounced it. I didn't unsay it. I don't even know
> what that means. What did you want me to do instead?

Ed, You very well might have tried the tact of NOT BEING A PUSHOVER.
I'm not trying to be nasty here; I'm simply pondering why, when given
authority and responsibility, would you drop it simply because of some
incorrectly held beliefs of a minority of others, no matter how vocal
those others might be?

> > Wow, this sure makes me seem like I was somehow standing in your way.
> > However, I was not.  To set the record straight:
> I said no such thing, nor did I mean to imply it. You are reading much
> more into my words than was there--a statement of fact.

I'll read something into things - Rick's "gotta respond back to get
the truth known" approach to things, coupled with his penchant for
gruff and quite less-than-polite interactions on-list, and his ongoing
misreading of the words of others coupled with a bullheaded insistence
that things decided in the past are decided forever led me to dismiss
him from his post - which, evidently, the President does NOT have the
to do, according to some, who are willing to email instances of what
they think are our rules and regs, but evidently unwilling to pen
entire sets of bylaws for the good of the group.  ...Wow, that's one
heck of a quagmire; glad I'm not in it any more.

So, given that the Presidency of SVLUG evidently does NOT include the
ability to remove problem volunteers from the group - (I attempted
this twice only - with the two most egregious of the volunteers) - I
guess it truly is an irrelevant and powerless position; this
contributed greatly to my decision on a course of action.  As a
MEMBER, and VOLUNTEER, I can be much more effective in manipulating
SVLUG to my own ends than I could possibly be as President.  So, to
best further my personal mission and my goals for SVLUG to become an
educationally-focused organization, I'll now act in only those
capacities, and not as President, going forward.

HOPEFULLY, by my insistence on doing even MORE appointments, the group
will soon pen bylaws which lay out what can an can not be done by
those holding various positions within the group.

My recommended short list for our hopefully-now-quickly-forthcoming
bylaws, which I'm sure will draw fire:

- members may not simply "call for a binding vote" on things any time
they disagree with it; they must avail themselves of the mailinglist
as a venue for communication, and build a consensus with at least one
volunteer or officer to get a vote put on the agenda of some upcoming
main meeting.

- any volunteer prematurely taking SVLUG business public will be
dismissed from service

- any volunteer blatantly or publically refusing to align themselves
with the goals of SVLUG's elected officers can similarly be dismissed
from service.

- all volunteers have the responsibility to ensure they are NOT
single-points-of-failure within the organization; that there is at
least one other willing volunteer who is both empowered to, and
capable of, taking over for them should the need arise.  Making
yourself indispensable is a no-no.

- an officer may only appoint someone to a vacant position after
getting the agreement of the volunteer staff on the appointment.  The
main list need not be involved with this.

- any volunteer or officer who refuses to be polite and helpful
on-list may be silent instead; failing that, they may be removed from
their post at the discretion of a minimum of one officer and one
active volunteer.

- any member stating on-list "Hey, you can't do that" to a volunteer
or officer is bound by that act, and has, by assuming an authorative
stance, agreed to become an active volunteer rather than just a
member.  Non-authoritarian statements such as "I wasn't aware you
COULD do that" and "I'm wondering WHY you did that" are not binding to
that; this applies only to authoritarian statements.

- any attempts at a coup or other disruption to SVLUG's governance
will meet with the immediate dismissal of the rebels from the group.
SVLUG is not a place for political manoeuvring; it's a technical and
educational forum.

- just because some past SVLUG crew decided X (or not X), doesn't
necessarily mean that SVLUG will always do (or not do) X.  The current
administration's views on X supersedes any and all past decisions
regarding X.

...I think that about covers it; I'll probably think of a few more
after I hit "send".

> Excellent. I never wanted to be President, and said so publicly.

Ed, you've got me really confused, here!  I wasn't aware you didn't
want to be President.  Had I known that, I'd have never appointed you.
 I only asked people who WANTED to be President to raise their hands.

> > o  You requested me to do a rather _huge_ amount of writing work,
> Ah. I didn't realize it would be so huge. [...]

It's only "huge" because it hasn't been done for some time.

> > o  I replied that I would happily comply, _but_ that I would gladly
> >    do the same for any SVLUG member -- including Alvin and Bruce, the
> >    other (so far) declared candidates.

Mr Moen, AFAIK Ed asked you for a status report on the state of the
servers; this has nothing to do with declared candidacy.  If you would
gladly prepare a status report for any member who asked, WHY then
would you refuse to handle simpler and less involved tasks at the
request of SVLUG's President?

> > 2.  Despite my saying "yes", and saying I'd do the same for
> >     _any SVLUG member_, and just was trying to behave fairly and
> >     impartially towards all candidates including (in particular)
> >     you, so that I could _not_ be fairly accused of trying to run
> >     SVLUG.... despite all that, you tell the membership I was
> >     somehow standing in your way.

I can see that futhering the misperception that you're not running
SVLUG is extremely  important to you.  In fact, I can see how it's
crucial to your ability to continue doing so from behind the scenes.

What I can't see is why you think that agreeing to prepare a status
report translates into advocating or not advocating a particular
appointee or candidate.

> > I'm non-plussed.  Should I have told you "no"?  If neither "yes" nor
> > "no" was OK, should I have gone with "mu"?

You could have asked the opinions of others involved.

> > And, by the way, _thank you_, Alvin, for your response to Ed on this
> > point.  Exactly, sir.  I couldn't have put it better.
> You mean this nonsense?


> personally, i think you are doing exactly what paul did ..
>        - do things without asking the volunteers
>        - making decisions of what to do
>        - assume that you are "pres" so you can do as you wish
>        and start making changes

Yes, any SVLUG President who can make a decision on their own is
destined to fail.  Only the wishy-washy are qualified to lead.  Anyone
changing SVLUG must be harming it, not improving it, especially if
they're the President.  We must ensure that the agendas the officers
are ignored and ensure we dis-empower them.   Let chaos reign!

> I am being pilloried again for doing what volunteers and other recent
> rebels asked me to do. Including Rick, who in person tells me and
> others that he supports me to become President in the election.

Get used to that; it's SOP.

> Particularly when I said that I wanted to withdraw from the race. I
> still do. Whether I will or not, I don't yet know. I *have* asked Lisa
> whether she would be willing to run for President, and I would go for
> VP.

If you don't want the job, PLEASE don't go for it.

> I asked Rick to proceed with the program that we discussed before the
> recent coup,

Ah, yes... the word's finally been spoken!  awesome.  I've added
another bullet item
above as a result... I'm sure you know which one it was.

>  which he had sent to Paul, who rejected it by not
> answering Rick's e-mail. Now Rick says I shouldn't have asked, but he
> didn't say that when I asked him to.

This is so totally misrepesented it's disturbing.  Let's recap:

- I asked Rick to handle managing the server in my absense
- He responded with demands - "I'll only do this if you agree to that"
- I went on vacation hoping he'd do the right thing and keep the
server running, even in the absense of a response.

I in NO way "rejected" Rick's email; I simply refused to have my arm
twisted, much as he would refuse the same tactic if I attempted it in
on him.

> I stated that a few of Paul's more egregious actions were to be considered revoked.

AFAIK, the only "change" persisting now within SVLUG that might in any
way be (mis)considered as egregious was my removal of Ms. Wallach from
her volunteer post, due to her ongoing disruptive behaviour.  Rick
refused his dismissal, so I doubt you're including that in the list;
what else did I do to wrong SVLUG, Ed?

> Now Rick and Alvin say I shouldn't have tried to revoke them.

Hey, if Rick and Alvin say something... you better darn well do it!
Pauls and Warrens and counteless others' opinions be damned; you've
got the right idea in listening only to those who tenaciously continue
to insist they are acting correctly even in the face of significant
evidence to the contrary.

> I think. I have asked
> others at every opportunity what would be good to do, and some have
> complained at me for it, while others have accused me of wanting to be
> a dictator.

Once again, get used to that; it's SOP here.

> I think that almost all of you people who post on this list are very
> silly. But then, so am I. Anyway, I like all of you.

That's the healthiest attitude I've seen you express to date.

> I should mention that the most reliable way of getting me angry is to
> tell me what I think, particularly in a tone of "When I want to hear
> _your_ opinion, I'll *tell* it to you." It is not nearly as effective
> as it used to be, for which I am grateful. I hope you are, too.

Ed, it's a good thing that you're toughening up your skin; you'll need
good armour if you're really going to try'n run this group.

In closing...

I'm happy with the changes I've made within SVLUG; my recent acts
pretty much ensure that SVLUG will now quickly pen and adopt bylaws,
if for no other reason than to guard against abuses by its officers
and volunteers.

Nothing I could have said or done as President would have worked to
ensure that; anything I penned would have been considered as me
"stuffing it down SVLUG's throat" by the nay-sayers.

I, for one, consider this particular tactic to have succeeded; I've
witnessed no bloodshed, no volunteers have ruptured any veins nor
suffered any broken any limbs, and I'm now free to focus on my
educational mission, and even to continue using SVLUG as a vehicle
supporting that goal.

Best regards, and I wish you all well.
-Paul Reiber
ex-President, SVLUG

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